By James Ogunnaike
ABEOKUTA – Former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo on Thursday, disclosed that the late former governor of Lagos State, Alh. Lateef Jakande served the country principally through journalism and through newspaper management before becoming an active politician.
In his condolence letter to the wife of the late first civilian governor, Alhaja Sikirat Abimbola, copy which was made to newsmen through his Media Assistant, Kehinde Akinyemi, in Abeokuta, Obasanjo said Jakande deserved all accolades poured on him over his death.
Obasanjo who went down memory lane on the pen profession of the late governor, stated that his success catapulted him to the height he got to in public office.
According to him, “he served this nation principally through journalism and through newspaper management before becoming an active politician. It must not be forgotten that he served as an Editor-in-Chief of the NIGERIAN TRIBUNE at a stage in his career where he acquitted himself as a positively-minded, focused and imaginative personality”.
” Indeed, he steered the company to editorial credibility and profitability and this has remained a reference point in the history of the organization till today”.
“It is with similar verve and energy that he pursued his work at John West Publications which was established by him to publish The Lagos News”.
“He was a master of the craft of column-writing. He also helped in the professional re-orientation of the younger generation of journalists in all the media organisations he had found himself”.
“By no measure can he be described as an ordinary man. He was, by all measure, a great man, an ardent patriot, a frontline journalist, an astute politician and reputable administration, a profile earned over the last five decades”.
“Of course, Alhaji Jakande was also a seasoned politician noted for his tremendous organisational ability. By all standards, his demise will create a vacuum as may be seen from his very active and purposeful life in the service of this nation through the Unity Party of Nigeria, UPN, in the late 70s. It is worthy of note that he was a remarkable politician and statesman: one of the very few distinguished enough to become a State Chief Executive”.
“His achievements in office, his managerial acumen and his large heartedness had ensured for him an evergreen legacy in Lagos State, particularly his irrepressible thirst for knowledge and education, which propelled his administration to offer free education for every child in the State”.
“Also, his commendable contributions in public life to the progress of the nation particularly as Honourable Minister of Works between 1993 and 1998, cannot be wished away. Alhaji Jakande belonged to that rare breed of leaders who took their public responsibilities with utmost seriousness”.
“He was demonstrably motivated by patriotism and a compulsion to serve the cause of public good with every breath he drew. His goal was service before self”.
“Although his loss has robbed the nation of the services which he so generously offered his community, State and nation, we will continue to recall his contributions to national development and abiding commitment to the well-being of his people in Lagos State”.
Obasanjo noted that Alhaji Jakande deserves all the tributes being paid to him by his compatriots. I can attest unreservedly to his being a democrat to the core and a committed patriot who worked tirelessly for the unity of the nation.
“While words are hardly enough to express our sympathy at this time, you can definitely take justifiable pride in the fact that your late husband and patriarch was a statesman who gave of his best to his fatherland. He will be sorely missed by all of us”.
He would be remembered as a fine journalist and one that was greatly admired by the general public and his peers as a straight-forward and complete gentleman majorly”.